An asset disposition company is the winning bidder for the idled Columbus Castings factory, putting into question the future of the longtime south side employer.
An affiliate of White Plains, New York-based Reich Brothers LLC bid $29.7 million Friday for the foundry’s assets, according to bankruptcy court filings. The bid bested an offer of $28.1 million by an entity named Columbus Operations LLC.
Reich Brothers says it “ focuses on the acquisition and disposition of distressed and surplus industrial assets.” Its plans for Columbus Castings are unclear. A lawyer with Thompson Hine LLP working with the company said Reich Brothers would not comment until the sale is approved, with a hearing on that scheduled for Tuesday.
The auction could mark the end of a swift revival and fall for the Parsons Avenue plant, which has counted a variety of owners and names over its decades but remained a constant presence on the southern edge of Columbus.
The plant’s operators in April warned its nearly 800 employees that they could lose their jobs as the plant’s holding company prepared for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization, which it filed in May. A planned private sale for the plant fell through in June.
The company had told vendors and suppliers that an unnamed buyer intended “ to preserve Columbus’ continuing ability to service its customer base as well as infuse significant capital into the company.”
Less than two years before its bankruptcy Columbus Castings executives had invited media to learn about the operation's planned growth as it prepared to add 550 jobs over three years, netting state and city tax incentives in the process.
“This is a company that has an uncanny way of building a legacy,” Columbus Castings Chairman Joseph Haviv told Columbus Business First in September 2014.
The latest bidding for the plant’s assets had been delayed several times before taking place Thursday.
Reich Brothers has multiple divisions: one acquires manufacturing facilities, another specializes in lending and the other, Reich Brothers Decommissioning LLC, was established last July.
“Reich Brothers has always had the ability to navigate asset acquisition and disposition issues and develop sophisticated transactional structures, but through the addition of this decommissioning expertise we are truly a full-service provider of solutions,” Co-CEO Jonathan Reich said then.